Posts tagged DUI

Progress, Not Perfection for Al U.

The steps seem to be working for racecar driver Al Unser Jr. Sure, he got popped for a third drunk driving charge a few weeks ago – but this time he didn’t beat up his girlfriend or flee from the scene of an accident. I’d call that progress, and so does he:

Unser Making Progress After Relapse
“You know, considering the circumstances I’m under, things are going a lot better, but it’s still one day at a time,” he said. “So I’m back on my program and that sort of thing and we’re going to do the best we can and get over this speedbump that’s in my life.”

Nice work, Al!

Shining a Light on Ron V.

Ron Verlander, Jr. is the Executive Director of the National Organization for Addiction Healing (NOAH). As their website  describes, it is not a treatment facility. So, what is their mission? This is taken from their website, which I have frozen:

“NOAH’s commission is to form a spiritual, financial and educational support bridge between the Christian Church Community and the Christian Recovery Ministry networks across the nation in order to save both lives in recovery treatment and lost souls through discipleship.

The “Bridge” is a spiritual two-way bridge. In one direction NOAH will facilitate and distribute desperately needed capital and financial support to Christian/Faith Based recovery facilities across the nation. (Summary of Treatment Facilities Article) NOAH will support its charitable funding projects from donations and pledges from churches, corporations, foundations, other charitable organizations and the general public.

In the other direction, NOAH will educate churches, their pastors and staff on how to minister to a suffering church member, give guidance as to where Christian recovery help is available for those who are in need of rehabilitation and help facilitate a connection to an appropriate Christian/Faith Based recovery facility that will meet the needs of the man or woman suffering from substance abuse addiction.

NOAH will also assist its participating churches in establishing a volunteer recovery mentor ministry within their church. The function of which would be to disciple the member returning from their rehabilitation at the Christian Recovery facility back into the Church first; and secondly into an appropriate 12 Step Support Group such as, Celebrate Recovery, Overcomers Outreach , Alcoholics Victorious, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Al-Anon. These two steps are of vital importance, in order to nourish the individual’s spiritual renewal and conditioning, and enhancing sustained sobriety.”

(Note the picture of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld creator, Larry David. I thought he was Jewish, but he is apparently endorsing the NOAH mission.)

Unfortunately, NOAH and Mr. Verlander has yet act on its mission, because he’s been too drunk. There are also some other interesting tidbits to the story:

Drug, alcohol counselor arrested on DUI charges

Turns out it is a residence in Alpharetta.

When confronted about his arrest, Verlander said he had no comment.

A woman who did not give her name told Wilis she helped start the nonprofit with Verlander.

“He’s an alcoholic,” she said.

She claimed that’s why the company never got a chance to work with addicts.

However, their company’s website is still up and running, and soliciting business from faith-based organizations.

Willis asked if Verlander ever accepted donations.

“I appreciate you coming by to talk, but I’m not interested in talking,” Verlander responded.

According to the company’s website, NOAH is an IRS recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

I hope Mr. Verlander isn’t accepting funds under the guise that he and his staff (which I assume consists of him and this woman who was unaware the website for NOAH was actually up and running) is helping others, and then pocketing said funds for beer money. That would be fraud, and though it may meet the AA standards of rigorous honesty™, it doesn’t meet the legal standard; and in that case, this guy will have more legal troubles than a DUI.

If At First You Don’t Succeed….

Here’s an uplifting story of Greg M., an AA in Louisiana who refuses to quit before the miracle:

Four arrests, minimum time: Driver in fatal crash has history of DWI charges

The suspect in a fatal Vermilion Parish crash last weekend has a lengthy criminal history that includes previous DWI charges stemming from incidents at a boat launch and an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, court records show.

Gregory Menard, 51, of Abbeville, has been arrested three times during the past 12 years on DWI charges, according to the Vermilion Parish Clerk of Court’s office. He also has been arrested or cited on 13 other occasions for various offenses.

Now, Menard is facing charges of fourth-offense DWI, vehicular homicide, vehicular negligent injuring and passing in a no-passing zone after an early Saturday morning wreck that resulted in the death of his brother, 55-year-old Kenneth Menard of Abbeville.

Keep coming back!


I belong to Mothers Against Mothers Against Drunk Driving Driving Drunk!

Former President of MADD Chapter Busted for DU

Officers in Gainesville, Florida recently arrested a former president of a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) group, and charged her with driving under the influence of alcohol.





(Thank you for the link, Mumon!)

He Ain’t No Ward Cleaver

Dana Kessel is a real piece of work. Last month, he got liquored up and slammed into a utility pole, projecting his unrestrained two-year old son into the front windshield:

Dad In Crash Freed on Booze Monitor

Kessel and two of his three children, ages 2 and 4, had gone with a friend, Todd Titus, to the Bowl-O-Mat on River Street, where Kessel told police he had two Coors Light beers and a shot of Southern Comfort liqueur.

Kessel was driving on McPherson Drive when he ran off the road and into a utility pole, police say. A partial Breathalyzer exam later showed a result of .21, more than 21/2 times the legal limit.

Police said that Kessel appeared indifferent to the cries of his bleeding son, who was not secured in his car seat and who was thrown into the dashboard during the crash. The other child was with Titus.

“Yes, the facts are difficult,” defense lawyer Robert Weiner acknowledged.

Now he is out of jail, thanks in part to the help of his AA sponsor, who was there in court to support his new recruit (although I doubt it is his first go at AA, considering this is his third DUI offense). Anyone who allows this to happen to their own child, and then shows complete indifference, is a sociopathic asshole, so he will likely thrive in AA. Unfortunately, it won’t do anything to help him with his drinking problem. This is an example of the harm AA does, and is an answer to the AAs who drive-by our blog and ask why we won’t leave AA alone.

Finally, A Little Bit of Common Sense

Finally, a little bit of common sense when it comes to dealing with probation and parole. Shockingly, it comes out of Arizona, which has devolved into the most batshit crazy state in the U.S. It’s nice to see a nugget of reason coming from that hotbed of lunacy. Adult probation credited with reducing revocations:

Knowing whether a probationer is more or less likely to commit new crimes lets probation officers better match rehabilitative programs with probationers’ needs, Sanders said.

And using what are called “evidence-based practices” means probation officers have stopped using therapies and punishments that clearly don’t work and have started using those that do, Sanders said.

For example, probation officers used to force people convicted of alcohol-related offenses to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but there was no evidence suggesting AA lowered recidivism rates.

Instead, probation officers now require attendance at cognitive-skills therapy sessions. Studies show this therapy improves impulse control and thinking skills, Sanders said.

The Excuse AAbuse

An AAer in St Stephen New Brunswick, Kenneth MacKenzie, recently got arrested for drinking and driving, less than three weeks before completing a one year probation for impaired driving. He was not legally impaired, so he was was not charged with impaired driving. He was, however, fined a total of $575 dollars for breaking the terms of his probation.

This part of the story is not too interesting. After all, people use AA as a get-out-of-jail-free card every day, all across the United States and Canada – and, of course, the vast majority go right back to boozing. What I found interesting was this judge was giving this defendant credit for having worked the program:

“Judges normally jail people for breaching probation orders, but Walker credited MacKenzie for the steps he took through AA. The judge gave him until May 10 to pay the fine and surcharge.”

Why would a judge credit this guy with working a program that doesn’t work? It really is astounding. There is a reason AAs feel such a sense of entitlement: because it is given to them. I hope this guy does not kill anyone next time.

How Alcoholics Anonymous Costs You In Court

Two months ago, a guy in North Carolina became suicidal after getting liquored up at his home. The situation escalated after police and the man’s AA sponsor arrived, and ended with the guy laying dead on the ground with a bullet hole through his chest. Yesterday the autopsy results were released, which showed that this guy’s blood alcohol content was above the lethal amount. He should have already been dead by the time the deputies arrived, but somehow he was still able to function. Here is an article about the incident.

The fact that this guy is now dead is obviously a tragic consequence, but looking further into this story reveals other failures, as well. Toward the end of the article, the reporter cites some previous arrests of this victim – including DUI, public intoxication, assault on a female and carrying a concealed weapon. These are not all of this guy’s convictions or arrests. There were two additional arrests for impaired driving, one resulting in a conviction (1990), and the other in a suspended sentence (1997). In four of these cases, he was compelled to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

This is an example of how AA is not a benign organization. This man is a victim of AA in two ways. One is their failure as a program for sobriety, and the other is in how AA conducts itself in relation to our court systems. This man had obvious psychological problems that extend beyond alcoholism. Problems that AA is ill-equipped to handle, and are actually more likely to exacerbate. A sponsor who is untrained in counseling, and who is very likely to be unbalanced himself — coupled with the collective idea that medication is poison, becomes a toxic mix for a person with psychological problems. Treating this man’s anger – which was likely the result of a chemical imbalance in his brain – with shame, resentment lists, suppression of his feelings and divine intervention; instead of with real psychological help, is the standard AA approach. An AA slogan is often said, but never applied, comes to mind. This guy needed a “check-up from the neck up”. What he got instead was a religious program that fails almost everyone who walks through the door. A program that had already failed him multiple times. AA is not required to accept anyone as part of a court mandate. I wish they wouldn’t have accepted this guy, and would have instead forced the court to find other methods of treatment – real, psychological treatment that someone who is mentally ill deserves. Maybe this tragedy could have been avoided.

I wanted to write about this case, because I wanted to isolate a specific example of how AA costs everyone, beyond the most obvious thing, and that is loss of life. There is a cost AA’s high failure rate. Putting an exact dollar figure is impossible. Factor in the hourly rate of those involved in the multiple arrests, court appearances, jailhouse stays and legal fees for this person — and it will give you some idea of what the costs are to you and me in terms of tax dollars. Multiply this by tens of thousands of cases, and you begin to get an idea of how this impacts everyone. It does not matter that an AA chapter passes around a collection plate, and accepts no outside contributions. That is not what costs you and me. We lose out from AA’s failure, and their inability to accept the idea that they are not a solution to almost every new member, or in this case, returning member.